Master of Architecture II Spring 2014

ARCHITECTURE OF NATURE / NATURE OF ARCHITECTURE — POTENTIALS
 
Professor: Diana Agrest
Instructors: Evangelos Kotsioris and Lydia Xynogala
 
Nature—as a real object and an object of study—is the subject of this studio, from the philosophical and scientific discourses that have explained it throughout history in its transformations to the present conditions of the natural world as they affect our modes of habitation. Focusing on the materiality and forces of nature as they are manifested in various phenomena and configurations is essential at this moment in time.
 
A different dimension of space and scale is the object of this exploration. The scale is vast in most cases, dealing with places such as deserts, canyons, rivers, glaciers, fault lines, volcanoes, coral reefs, dunes, etc. Here, time is of a cosmic dimension that relates to the Universe and a central theme, as these are formations that took billions or millions of years to develop and thousands for transformations to be perceptible, until the most recent history, where processes of transformation have accelerated. The concept of time is not only essential to every project, but also places the work outside the traditional boundaries of architecture, urbanism or landscape.
 
While projects are based on extensive and deep scientific research, the eye of the architect, through various systems of representation—drawings, photography, models and notational systems—an intrinsic part of this process of discovery, makes manifest these natural phenomena in ways that traditional techniques do not, thus uncovering the extraordinary potentials.
 

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  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.